This is the scenic view under a 1917 Craftsman in South Pasadena, a charming house in a quaint neighborhood but you wouldn’t know it by this photo!
Yes, there is water dripping through the electrical conduit in the foreground; yes, there is debris left by past tradesmen…
But the focus of our concern is the fact that this leaking bathroom is essentially being supported at its primary girder at the center of the bath by that one piece of 2 inch by 4 inch lumber in the center of the photo, the one that is at a severely shifted angle and which termites have (also due to the water) made a smorgasbord of!
We were called out to find out why the beautiful period tile in the bathroom of this home was cracking. Turned out to be, as is so often the case, a very limited problem and a very limited repair. We had the client get a plumber to stop the leakage, then we cleared out the debris and brought in new structural lumber to restore the structural status such that the bathroom would then hold still.
In this case, the plumbing leak had been there long-term, it was not recent; this saturated the soil under the bathroom which caused the concrete support pier to shift. The wet wood also acted as an invite to subterranean termites, who came in and contributed by eating right through this main support post. Next thing you know, the bathroom tiles are “mysteriously” cracking…
The moral of the story is simply this: Old houses do not crack and sink and shift and settle just by virtue of age; there is always a cause prior to an effect, and this is just one more instance of that.
Don’t be afraid of your house, if it is doing something non-optimal, have it looked at. You may find that what you worried about is actually a simple fix!